Magnolia rostrata W. W. Sm.

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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles



Traditional English name for the formerly independent state known to its people as Bod now the Tibet (Xizang) Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China. The name Xizang is used in lists of Chinese provinces.
Lacking hairs smooth. glabrescent Becoming hairless.
Grey-blue often from superficial layer of wax (bloom).
midveinCentral and principal vein in a leaf.


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Article from Bean's Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles

A deciduous tree 40 to 80 ft high, with silvery-grey bark and glabrous purplish young shoots. Leaves obovate, rounded at the end, usually tapered to a narrow or slightly heart-shaped base, the largest over 20 in. long by 12 in. wide, purplish red and clothed with tawny down when quite young, becoming glabrous above, glaucous and thinly furnished with down beneath, the midrib and chief veins (of the latter there are frequently over thirty pairs) often clothed with reddish-brown hairs; stalk 1 to 3 in. long. Flowers creamy white or pink, large, terminal, and solitary on leafy shoots of the current season, opening in June; petals tapered to a point, at first erect enough to give the flower a cupped shape. Fruits cylindric, bright red, 5 or 6 in. long, 112 in. wide, carpels beaked, seeds small.

Native of Yunnan, S.E. Tibet, and Upper Burma; discovered in Yunnan by Forrest in 1917. There was at one time much confusion between this species and “M. mollicomata” (or campbellii) which bears its rosy-pink flowers in spring on the leafless shoots of the preceding year. The original description of the flowers by Sir W. W. Smith in Notes, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh, Vol. xii, p. 213, really refers to those of M. mollicomata. Farrer, who found it in Upper Burma in 1919, also confused the two. Kingdon Ward describes the flowers as white, small, borne immediately above the huge leaves and practically invisible from below, and the tree itself as certainly not the magnificent sight in flower Forrest and Farrer originally believed it to be.

It is tender and needs protection from wind. The tallest specimen known grows at Sidbury Manor, Devon; planted in 1935 it measures 50 × 2 ft (1959). An older tree at Trewithen in Cornwall has attained 41 × 314 ft (1971) but would be taller if better sheltered from the wind. At Borde Hill, Sussex, a tree raised from seeds collected by Forrest in 1926 was killed in the winter of 1939-40; another, raised from Kingdon Ward 7628, collected in Upper Burma in 1926, has survived in a protected position.

From the Supplement (Vol. V)

The specimen at Sidbury Manor, Devon, pl. 1935, measures 62 × 334 ft (1977).


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